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CAPE BUS DRIVERS STEP UP PROTESTS

25 Apr Transport

Striking bus drivers renewed their protests in Cape Town on Thursday, insisting their demands be met.
Drivers have been involved in a nationwide bus industry strike for better wages.

Drivers affiliated to the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) and the Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union (Towu), were expected to picket throughout the city.

“Our member bus drivers are gathering outside the Athlone Library and will march to the Bargaining Council offices,” said Satawu Western Cape spokesman Wayne Louw.

Golden Arrow Bus service spokesman John Dammert said parties could not reach an agreement during talks facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) on Wednesday.
“Our representative, who is part of the bargaining council, told me that unions brought down their demands to a 13 percent wage increase, while the employers improved their offer to eight percent,” said Dammert.

The CCMA suggested that parties settle at nine percent.

Commuter Bus Employers’ Organisation spokesman Barry Gie said the unions’ demands were a major hurdle during talks.

“One of the stumbling blocks is that unions continue to ask for a double digit increase, which we simply cannot afford,” said Gie.

Earlier in the week, the Congress of SA Trade Unions expressed support for striking bus drivers and their wage demands.

“(We) wish the workers at the bus companies well during their strike and support them in their struggle for a living wage,” Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said in a statement.

Satawu Gauteng spokesman Vincent Masoga said on Tuesday workers needed a substantial increase to offset rising food and housing costs.

“Members don’t have a problem to negotiate, but they cannot take anything less than a double-digit 1/8increase 3/8,” he said.

Source: iolnews – Sapa